John Hartson predicts Rangers will finish third next season - even if Caixinha excels

Wales forward coach John Hartson during training

John Hartson has ruled out any chance of Rangers challenging Celtic next season.

Wales forward coach John Hartson during trainingJohn Hartson

Pundit and former Celtic striker John Hartson has told The Scottish Sun that Rangers will only finish third next season – even if new manager Pedro Caixinha excels.

The Gers take on Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals on Sunday afternoon, with Caixinha looking to become the first Scottish side to beat Brendan Rodgers' men this season.

With the Scottish Premiership and League Cup tied up without losing a game, Celtic are closing in on an unbeaten domestic campaign, whilst they sit 33 points clear of Rangers in the league table.

Rangers entered the season with high hopes of challenging Celtic having beaten them in last season's Scottish Cup semi-final meeting at Hampden Park, but their campaign has been a disappointment.

Mark Warburton struggled under increased pressure this term, leading to his resignation and the appointment of the little-known Caixinha as his replacement, with the Portuguese boss leaving Al-Gharafa in Qatar for a move to Ibrox.

So far, Caixinha is unbeaten in his five games in charge, winning three and drawing two, with three clean sheets in a row and only one goal conceded in what has been a promising start for the new man in the Ibrox dugout.

New Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha in the standsPedro Caixinha

Caixinha will be hoping to land a huge win over Celtic this weekend, or even when the Old Firm rivals meet again in the league next weekend – but John Hartson is giving them no chance of winning the latter.

The pundit has told The Scottish Sun that Celtic can put out the reserves against Rangers next week, and predicted that even if Caixinha 'gets Rangers going', they will still only finish third – the position they currently hold in the Scottish Premiership – next season.

“The league game coming up between Rangers and Celtic is a nothing game now,” said Hartson. “Celtic can play the reserves. The league’s done. Rangers are third right now. At the start of the season, I actually said they’d finish fourth. If Caixinha gets them going they might finish third again next year,” he added.

Do you think Caixinha can oversee a Rangers win over Celtic this season?

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